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Sep 21

An indepth look at Harmony: Resto Druid Mastery and optimal uptime

mop_logo This post was originally written during Mists of Pandaria. Its content may be outdated due to changes that come with expansion packs. Please consider this while reading. 

Questions? Feel free to contact me – contact@sometimesatree.com.

 

This post explores resto druids’ mastery spell “Harmony”, as well as some thoughts about how to be totally optimal with your Harmony uptime, rather than simply constant.

Many people out there will tell you that Harmony uptime is important to maintain. Some guilds might even look through a WoL parse and question you about it if you don’t regularly maintain 100% uptime, or rate you by how close to 100% you come. After all, it kind of makes sense that Harmony should be up as often as possible. So if you’re in that situation and some prospective guild recruiter quizzes you, this post should give you enough ammo to convince them you know your stuff! Mostly though, I hope that this post gives you the information you need to totally understand Harmony and help you be the best healer you can be, regardless of where you are at with your guild affiliation.

 

100% Uptime?

At the highest level of play, it’s not overall uptime that’s important. Rather, it’s the optimal or “effective” uptime. If your spells won’t benefit from harmony, then don’t go out of your way to activate it. For challenge modes and likely the entire first tier of raiding in Mists of Pandaria, Nourish and Healing Touch will have a cast time greater than 2 seconds, which means room for two rejuvenation GCDs in the space of that cast. If those two rejuvenations will count (and this can often depend on whether your other healers have your HoTs showing on their raid frame, and don’t cast heals at someone with a rejuv ticking, thus relegating the remainder of your rejuv to overheals), then choose rejuv!

As for pure mana efficiency, it is more cost efficient to let Harmony actually expire before recasting it, but recast it before casting any HoTs. If you refresh Harmony while it’s active, that’s an extra however-many-GCDs-were-remaining-until-it-expired that you could have got out of that. Your cast is going to take the same amount of time regardless (assuming normality of haste buffs/procs) and while casting a direct heal, you can’t cast any HoTs. So you aren’t losing any time by casting your direct heal after Harmony lapses, but you are losing potential bonus-to-HoTs by not casting as many as possible within Harmony’s duration.

Now of course, this is a simplified approach. In a real raiding situation, there are a lot of other factors. Incoming boss damage – you don’t want to prioritise a rejuv that’s not needed just for the sake of getting a useless bonus if it means you’re stuck without harmony for a major burst of damage. Another is that the heals are effective. If you actually don’t need to cast a HoT, and Harmony expiration is coming up, then sure, cast a Nourish for the extra safety if there’s a risk of something unusual happening. If you’re going to cast a useless Nourish anyway, of course you’ll want to cast it at your Lifebloom target to keep the stacks rolling. A side note re: Nourish + Lifebloom though – Lifebloom is about half the cost of a Nourish, and being instant, it is pretty much your primary stack refresher.

 

What should I aim for?

Now, even though I’ve just gone on about how important it is to be effective in your use of Harmony, rather than maintain 100% uptime, it’s important that you’re able to maintain 100% uptime throughout an entire fight even if you don’t. It’s OK to be casting direct heals to refresh harmony before it expires until you are at the stage where you can mincromanage it perfectly. The reason being that it’s a lot better to have harmony up too often than not enough, as well as being easier to make downward adjustments to things. For example, consider the following downward adjustment:

“When I casted a direct heal within 10 seconds of boss ability X, I didn’t get any benefit out of harmony since I only WG+rejuv which heal everyone to full before expiring, so next time I’ll utilise those 2 GCDs for damage mitigation CDs, which will have a greater benefit.”

Vs the upward approach

“When I am within 10 seconds of boss ability X I don’t cast a direct heal. I could do it to proc harmony. It might be worth it, but maybe not. I wish I used a downward approach because I have no idea what the situation would be otherwise.”

OK, so maybe I’m making my point in a silly way, but it’s still an important point. Develop the ability to maintain uptime first, and then make informed decisions, rather than trying to make uninformed decisions when you struggle to keep harmony up. Maximising Harmony is actually pretty hard in practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself to be perfect here if you’re still learning in other areas.

 

Convincing guild recruiters

Since I used this example, I figure I’d better throw out a little disclaimer here. If you are applying to a guild with one or multiple parses in your application, and you do play the “I am using Harmony effectively because I am a gosu healer” angle, then it’s probably best that you are consistent with the timings of Harmony lapses. For example, if one fight Harmony falls off for 30 seconds randomly 2 minutes into the fight, another fight it’s at 3:30 and then a few times it’s at a phase transition at 7:00, inconsistency is going to cause alarm bells to ring for any thorough recruiter!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://sometimesatree.com/an-indepth-look-at-harmony-resto-druid-mastery-and-optimal-uptime-2/

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